Modulation of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor signaling by naturally occurring and synthetic flavonoids

Denise Wootten, John Simms, Cassandra Koole, Owen L. Woodman, Roger J. Summers, Arthur Christopoulos, Patrick M. Sexton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) is a promising target for the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus because of its role in metabolic homeostasis. In recent years, difficulties with peptide therapies have driven the search for small-molecule compounds to modulate the activity of this receptor. We recently identified quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, as a probe-dependent, pathway-selective allosteric modulator of GLP-1R-mediated signaling. Using Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing the human GLP-1R, we have now extended this work to identify the structural requirements of flavonoids to modify GLP-1R binding and signaling (cAMP formation and intracellular Ca2+ mobilization) of each of the GLP-1R endogenous agonists, as well as the clinically used exogenous peptide mimetic exendin-4. This study identified a chemical series of hydroxyl flavonols with the ability to selectively augment calcium (Ca2+) signaling in a peptide agonist-specific manner, with effects only on truncated GLP-1 peptides [GLP-1(7-36)NH2 and GLP-1(7-37)] and exendin-4, but not on oxynto-modulin or full-length GLP-1 peptides [GLP-1(1-36)NH2 and GLP-1(1-37)]. In addition, the 3-hydroxyl group on the flavone backbone (i.e., a flavonol) was essential for this activity, however insufficient on its own, to produce the allosteric effects. In contrast to hydroxyl flavonols, catechin had no effect on peptide-mediated Ca2+ signaling but negatively modulated peptide-mediated cAMP formation in a probe-dependent manner. These data represent a detailed examination of the action of different flavonoids on peptide agonists at the GLP-1R and may aid in the development of future small molecule compounds targeted at this receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-550
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Modulation of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor signaling by naturally occurring and synthetic flavonoids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this